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WSAW Your Town Wausau: Higher education has a rich history in Wausau

December 8, 2022
UWSP at Wausau
UWSP at Wausau featured as part of WSAW's Your Town Wausau.

From WSAW, Wausau, by Jade Flury
As the City of Wausau continues to grow and expand into what it is today, so has higher education in the area.

“The UW has been offering courses in Wausau since 1933,” said Brett Barker, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wausau.

Those courses began as part of the University of Wisconsin’s extension services.

“At one point, you had professors traveling. They were often called circuit riders colloquially because they would go here and to other sites in the area,” said Barker. “Then eventually we came to reside in that old normal school building which was a large brick structure out on Stewart Avenue.”

The Wausau branch of the University of Wisconsin was a way to help students get their higher education without having to relocate.

“Students are not just seeing our campus as a place to come for a year or two,” said Ozalle Toms, the campus executive at UWSP-Wausau. “But now they can actually stay here.”

The education at the Wausau campus helps the city with employee retention.

“That was the main point of bringing these four-year degrees. To keep the talent here in the area,” said Toms.